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America’s Voice Election 2020 Weekly Digest – July 31

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Each Friday through Election Day, we will be putting out a short weekly memo that highlights the biggest 2020 election storylines at the intersection of electoral politics and immigration.  

Key Immigration Politics Storyline of This Week

  • DACA on the ballot this November – bad news for GOP. The Trump administration’s DACA memo restricts DACA now (no new applicants, affecting 300,000 young immigrants who grew up here) and has been widely interpreted to mean they plan to kill DACA off altogether after the election (read our detailed take here). It’s cruel and terrible policy AND it’s toxic politics for Republicans. It ensures the fate of DACA and Dreamers will be on the ballot in November. This should be troubling news for the GOP given that in poll after poll, approximately four out of five Americans, including a majority of Republicans, want Dreamers to remain in the U.S. permanently. 

In Case You Missed It…

  • Democrats in heated primary lean in on immigration: Read this excellent piece by Marcela Garcia of the Boston Globe about how the Democratic Senate primary between Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Joe Kennedy includes both candidates making Latino voters and the issue of immigration a major focus — a far cry from just a decade ago when Rahm Emanuel, based on his analysis of a race in Massachusetts, warned candidates to run away from immigration because, he said, it’s a “third rail.”

Polling Snapshot

  • Support for path to citizenship and COVID cash assistance remarkably durable:  CAP Action/Hart Research polling: “Americans recognize the important contributions that immigrants are making to combat the pandemic, and—by large margins—support granting legal status and a pathway to citizenship for essential workers…They also believe that U.S. citizens and those who file their taxes with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) should be able to access the same cash assistance that other Americans are able to, rather than be shut out of relief.” This is a hot topic on Capitol Hill right now as Congress negotiates a COVID relief bill. The public is in a very different place than anti-immigrant Republicans. Just 9% of registered voters—only 16% of Republicans—believe Americans in mixed-status families should be denied COVID-19 relief funds.
  • Democrats leave votes on the table if they don’t talk about immigration: Research by Civis Analytics for The Immigration Hub in swing states shows that Democrats should run to rather than run from immigration. Stef Knight in Axios piece title, Where immigration could swing critical 2020 voters: “It’s a vulnerability for Democrats not to talk about immigration,” said Tyler Moran, executive director of Immigration Hub, which advocates for immigration and is run by several former Democratic congressional staffers. Ceding it to Trump “is leaving votes on the table.” See here for full memo.
  • Again, when Democrats lean in on immigration, they increase their support: In an article titled, Pro-immigrant messages could move undecided voters in swing states, Politico’s Laura Barrón-López highlights recent findings from ALG Research for NILC Immigrant Justice Fund. Her lede: “Sixty-eight percent of undecided voters in battleground states support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and could be convinced by pro-immigrant policies, according to a poll from an immigrant rights group.” Another key finding from a memo from the NILC Immigrant Justice Fund: “Our pro-immigrant messages increase support for Joe Biden. The pro-immigrant messages we tested were framed as coming from Joe Biden and helped improve his net favorable rating among persuadable voters by 40 points…”

Ad Watch: 2020 Immigration Ads of The Week:

  • From 2020 Ad Watch, a project of America’s Voice: The Trump campaign has dropped three ads attacking Joe Biden on jobs, taxes, and giving “illegal immigrants amnesty and taxpayer-funded benefits” (see here, here, and here). In his “phone rallies” and a subsequent Facebook ad, Trump makes the false attack on Biden that he favors “opening the border.” 

Final Word

  • New Video Series on Dog-Whistle Politics: America’s Voice has launched a new video series looking to decode the distinct dog-whistles showing up in the campaign ads and providing a brief context around the history of this tactic. We have made two so far “A Brief History” and “Nativism Around Healthcare.” Take a look.